How to Clean Vanilla Extract Stains

Vanilla extract is a tannin-based stain because it is derived from a plant, which is the vanilla bean. Tannin-based stains typically become darker in color as they dry. Vanilla extract is one of the easier tannin-based stains to remove if caught early and before the stain begins to dry. However, vanilla extract that has had days or weeks to set into fabric may be more challenging to remove.

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Fresh Fabric Stains

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Step 1

Rinse the fabric with cold water.

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Step 2

Add a high-quality laundry detergent directly to the stain and gently rub it into the fabric.

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Step 3

Launder the textile according to washing instructions on the label. Use the hottest water recommended for the fabric.

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Step 4

Inspect the material and wash it again if the stain is still visible. If not, dry it in the dryer or on a clothesline, following care instructions on the textile's tag.

Set-In Stains

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Step 5

Wet the stain with warm water and then dab the stain with rubbing alcohol using a cotton ball. Do not douse the stain with the alcohol. Wetting the stain will open up the fibers to allow for the alcohol to penetrate the stain.

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Step 6

Soak the fabric for 20 minutes with 1/4 cup of bleach or color-safe bleach mixed into one gallon of warm water.

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Step 7

Wash the fabric according to label instructions. If the stain is still visible, soak the item in bleach water again, this time for 30 minutes.

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Step 8

Dry the fabric in the dryer or over a clothesline once the stain is no longer visible.